We get a little vitamin D from food, but most of it comes from sunlight. In the UK, we don’t get enough sunlight between October and March, because the light doesn’t contain sufficient UVB rays. For most people, you only need to be outside for short periods of time, for example around 20-30 minutes. If you have dark skin, you will need longer in the sun.
How can Vitamin D help improve my health?
- Build strong bones and teeth
- Improve muscle weakness
- Reduce the likelihood of severe illness eg Flu and Covid
- Reduce the risk of heart disease
- Reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and IBS
Most foods don’t contain much vitamin D so it’s hard to get enough from food alone. However, the foods that have the highest levels of vitamin D are these:
- oily fish – salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout
- red meat
- liver and fish liver oil
- egg (yolks)
- foods with vitamin D added – such as most fat spreads, some breakfast cereals and some plant-based alternatives to milk.
Adults and older children will need a daily supplement which contains 10mcg of vitamin D. This will sometimes be written as 400IU (international units).There are special vitamin drops available for babies and children under 5. These may be available free of charge for some families. If you are pregnant and breastfeeding you may also be able to claim free vitamin D tablets.Find out more about vitamin D and how to get enough, including the guidelines for pregnant women and babies, from the NHS.